Changes in alcohol consumption during the pandemic could lead to thousands of additional deaths in England: two new studies from the University of Sheffield and Institute for Alcohol Studies/HealthLumen show the impact of pandemic-related changes in alcohol consumption on health outcomes.
- Two new studies from the University of Sheffield and the Institute of Alcohol Studies/HealthLumen show the impact of pandemic-related changes in alcohol consumption on health outcomes
- Light drinkers have decreased their consumption on average during the pandemic, but heavy drinkers have increased their alcohol consumption
Both studies estimate substantial increases in alcohol-related harm and NHSeven if consumption habits were to return to pre-pandemic habits from 2022
- If the increase in consumption by heavy drinkers persists over the longer term, then the situation is considerably worse, with both studies estimating hundreds of thousands of additional cases of alcohol-related disease and thousands of additional deaths as a result.
- Both studies find that the rise in alcohol-related harm disproportionately affects the less well-off in society, further widening inequalities.
Changes in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to lead to thousands more cases of illness, premature death and hospital admissions, which will cost NHS Billions.
Moderate drinkers consumed less alcohol during the pandemic, while heavy drinkers consumed more.
Two separate modeling studies, both published today (July 26, 2022), examined these changes in alcohol consumption during the pandemic and modeled the long-term health impacts of several different scenarios on how these changes may develop in the future.
The University of Sheffield NHS-a commissioned report examined how alcohol-related hospitalizations and deaths are likely to increase over a longer period of 20 years. The study found that with their worst-case scenario there would be 972,382 additional hospital admissions and 25,192 additional deaths, at a cost of £5.2billion.
In their NIHR-funded research, the Institute for Alcohol Studies and non-communicable disease modeling specialists HealthLumen looked at other illnesses, deaths and NHS costs. If alcohol consumption does not return to pre-pandemic patterns, they predict that by 2035 there will be 147,892 additional cases of nine alcohol-related diseases – such as cirrhosis of the liver and breast cancer – and 9,914 additional premature deaths, which will cost the NHS £1.2 billion.
Colin Angus, lead researcher who led the University of Sheffield study, said: “Even in our best-case scenario, where drinking behavior returns to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, we estimate 42 677 additional alcohol-attributable hospitalizations and 1,830 deaths. over 20 years.
“These figures underscore that the impact of the pandemic on our alcohol consumption is likely to cast a shadow over our health and paint a worrying picture at a time when NHS services are already under enormous pressure due to backlogs.
IAS Director of Research Dr Sadie Boniface said: “The pandemic has been detrimental to alcohol-related harm: alcohol-related deaths have reached record highs and inequalities have widened. dug. Our results anticipate the longer-term health impacts of recent changes in drinking habits.
“Rising alcohol harm, lost lives and costs to the NHS projected in our study are not inevitable. We don’t have an alcohol strategy and progress on alcohol harm has been limited in England in recent years. This research should serve as a “red flag” to take alcohol-related harm seriously in pandemic recovery planning.
The researchers warn that, as the two reports provide insight into a small number of the 200 alcohol-related diseases, the true impact is likely to be much greater. They point out that the findings are consistent with the actual increases in alcoholic liver disease and alcohol-specific deaths that have occurred since the start of the pandemic.
The studies also point out that the impacts are not evenly distributed across the population, with heavy drinkers and those in the most deprived areas – who already suffer the highest rates of alcohol harm – expected to be disproportionately affected. With government’s impending white paper on health disparities, IAS says it must include policies to reduce alcohol harm if it is to hope to tackle growing health inequality exacerbated by the pandemic.